CureVac, a pioneer in the field of mRNA-based technology, today announced that the company has initiated its third target product development program in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The program will leverage CureVac’s RNActive technology platform in the development of a prophylactic vaccine to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adding to the development programs previously initiated by CureVac and the Gates Foundation targeting mRNA vaccines for HIV and Rotavirus.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to utilize our mRNA technology to fight a host of diseases that have a disproportionate impact on the world’s poorest countries,” said Ingmar Hoerr, CEO of CureVac.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, RSV is a common virus spread through coughing and sneezing that is most prevalent during fall, winter and spring. RSV can be especially serious for infants and older adults. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent RSV infection.
In March 2015, the Gates Foundation participated with €46M in CureVac’s financing round in the form of an equity investment to support continued development of CureVac’s RNA technology platform and the construction of an industrial scale production facility.
As part of this partnership, CureVac and the Gates Foundation anticipate that they will also collaborate on the development and production of numerous vaccines against infectious diseases that disproportionately affect people in the world’s poorest countries. Under the terms of the agreement, any Gates Foundation funded products will be made available by CureVac at an affordable price in poor countries, while CureVac will be able to market such products in developed countries on its own, through licensees or a combination of both.
This new program is another proof of CureVac’s potential to disrupt a field which is until now based on protein therapeutics. Thanks to its mRNA approach, CureVac is leading seven clinical studies, including a Phase IIb trial in prostate cancer showing promising results. CureVac’s mRNA technology is also attracting high standings partners such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi Pasteur, and Johnson & Johnson.